Here is a picture of the artist in front of his childhood townhouse in Etobicoke, Ontario. This was taken when he was about 6 years old. It's not known why this picture was taken, but a good guess would be that Burke was standing outside waiting for the arrival of the new car: a white 1974 Ford Thunderbird with a white leather interior, a chocolate brown dashboard and no less than four separate ashtrays - each with its own electric cigarette lighter! A car so easy to drive that on a 1978 March break trip to Florida his step-father, Ed, drove the entire way with a broken left arm that rested on a pillow wedged between the door and the seat (an electric power seat, of course). It was a good thing too, because his mother was reading The Shining at the time and was acting all freaked-out. They made decent time all the way to Tennessee on the first day. Burke, age 10, made the motel reservation for that first night from Dayton, Ohio where they stopped for breakfast at Perkins. When they finally arrived at the motel at 2 am, Ed realized it was a 'dry' county, therefore not an acceptable place to sleep that night. Even after such a long day of one-armed driving, Ed had everyone drag their tired bodies back into the T-Bird and drove another 40 miles to a motel in a county that sold alcohol. He really liked his beer, and wasn't about to let any damn Bible-thumpers limit his access to it. The Thunderbird unfortunately lacked Ed's stamina, and the next day the engine block cracked, stranding the beach-seeking travelers in central Florida
for four days.
Since this photograph was taken, the tree and the artist
have grown significantly.